web 3.0: so just how big is your world, exactly?

By in cloud, general, mobile, products, social networks, strategy, web design on Monday, 25 October 2010

Sitting on my desk I have a wide-screen, 24-inch monitor. Good for you. I can hear you say. Stick with me on this one. there’s a point to me telling you this.

My web statistics show that 90% of visitors are using 1200×800 resolutions as a minimum. Tablets like Apple’s iPad have similar broad screen landscapes.

But that’s only half the story. Lots of my visitors use SmartPhones, like iPhone or Android. Resolutions for these is similar, but they use a sliding window.

Web design follows user hardware, that’s why most sites used an 800×600 screen canvas. This layout is now less common as we move to wider displays.

A website’s real estate has a value, which roughly follows the page layout of a newspaper. What you see first is premium, what you have to scroll around to, less so.

So to keep visitors happy, how big should a website be. Just how big is your world?

Taking the wider view

Things are getting screwed up. Screens are getting wider, so websites are following them. But site design is still in portrait, narrow and tall.

Something not lost on Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. He’s dismissed the new seven-inch tablets from Samsung and HP as stupid. And he’s right, to a point.

Either we have standards, or we don’t. Everything’s about content, so hardware should allow that to be seen. Not screwed around with.

But I don’t think carrying a huge slate-device around is really the answer, however pretty. Like they’re auditioning for the part of Moses in the Ten Commandments?

Shall I WAP that for you?

No you certainly will not. When SmartPhones first appeared, the crappy little screens had about four pixels so designers had to use truly mobile sites based on something called Wireless Access Protocol, or WAP. It was crap, so I’ll leave it right there.

We can’t go back to sites without rich content. We can’t castrate style for inferior hardware. It didn’t work then and sure as Hell won’t work now because we expect great stuff now. Back then, we seemed to accept rubbish.

A narrowing of perspectives?

I think we’ll see a hold on wide site design. This LANZen site is a new generation version and is using a 920 pixel-wide layout. Beyond that and it may not work across all platforms. Art isn’t for art’s sake any more – its more for sound, commercial reasons.

Devices are going to be needed in a size we can carry everywhere. Sites must be great to view on them. So, yes, I’ll welcome real-world-portable tablets. Sorry Steve.

in the web three-dot-zero-world, function dictates form.

One thought on “web 3.0: so just how big is your world, exactly?

  1. 1

    Good read. I recently changed to an Android and “play” with it a lot. But even the clarity of the screen can’t compensate for the constant flicking back and forth to read a web-page.

    I really cannot imagine how they will be able to sort this out as I often check sites like Techcrunch both at home or travelling. Is it too much to ask to enjoy the same “user experience” on both? At least Techcrunch isn’t too wide unlike some sites.